Creed 2 (2018): Review by Grosse Point Geek

Creed 2 (2018): Review by Grosse Point Geek

A Blog

Plot in a nutshell: Newly crowned world heavyweight champion Adonis Creed (Johnson) faces an irresistible challenge by undefeated Russian fighter (and man mountain) Victor Drago (Munteanu)  who just so happens to be the son and boxing protege of one Ivan Drago (big Dolph) who killed Adonis’s father Apollo Creed 33 years previously (see Rocky IV for more).

However, Adonis’ trainer and mentor Rocky Balboa (Stallone) wants nothing to do with it, feeling that Adonis is doing the fight for all the wrong reasons and is likely to get seriously hurt in the process.

To say anymore would spoil it for you but safe to say that if you have seen any of the other Rocky films you can pretty much guess the rest.

 
What worked? Very much like 2015’s Creed, all the performances are absolutely superb – Stallone is of course brilliant as Rocky (in his 8th go around), Johnson is extremely good again as Adonis as is Tessa Thompson as his long term girlfriend Bianca. Munteanu also does very well in what could have been a standard villain role but instead manages to give Viktor a good deal of depth which was very refreshing. Finally Dolph Lundgren is absolutely superb and a total joy to behold returning to his most famous role as Ivan Drago – snotty critics take note  -never let it be said that this guy cant act as he is bloody fantastic here. Lastly the boxing matches are very well staged  – particularly the bruising climactic bout and naturally there’s a great training montage which will have you clapping and cheering.
 
What could have been better? As good as it is this sequel doesn’t quite scale the heights of its 2015 predecessor, the original Rocky or for that matter the sixth entry Rocky Balboa.
Newcomer Steven Caple jr does well in the directors chair but lacks the same raw flair and edge of Ryan Coogler (who takes an executive producer credit here) also for me the filmmakers could have had Stallone and Lundgren share more scenes together and this seemed like a wasted opportunity. Finally the film does drag a bit in the middle somewhat. 
 
Best Scene: What else? The training montage, the big fight between Drago and Creed and naturally THAT music theme.
 
Review summary: Not as bonkers as Rocky IV nor as good as some of the other entries, but despite some shortcomings Creed 2 is a damn good sequel and another great entry in this wonderful and seemingly never ending franchise. 

 


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Will Strong

The Austin Powers to Phil Hobden’s Dr Evil, it’s fair to say Will spends his life trying to convince Phil that Paul WS Anderson ISNT a bad filmmaker, that The Hobbit movies really are THAT good and, for the most part, Phil is wrong about most things. Which he is.

Blog: Grosse Point Geek – The Top Ten Best Sports Movies Ever Made

Blog: Grosse Point Geek – The Top Ten Best Sports Movies Ever Made

Grosse Point Geek Uncategorized

As you are aware, this month sees the start of the 2014 World Cup, that 4 yearly footballing tournament that makes temporary widows out of our wives and girlfriends,  turns normal peace loving males into raging right wing xenophobes and is the source of untold misery for any and all England fans (myself included).

So in the light of the fact that Roy’s men will most likely have been unjustly dumped out of the tournament within the next 3 weeks and we will all require cheering up as a result,  I have compiled a list of the top ten best sports movies ever made  – all guaranteed to alleviate those familiar feelings of crushing disappointment and the desperate need to purchase extra strength lager or illegal narcotics to dull the inevitable pain of another failed England penalty shootout.

* * * * * *

Slapshot (1977)

Director: George Roy Hill

Actors: Paul Newman, Strother Martin,)

George Roy Hill’s film of a down on their luck Ice Hockey Team who resort to extreme violence to win games is possibly one of the funniest movies ever made. With hilarious sight gags (the mad as cheese Hanson Brothers are a standout) extreme profanity and Paul Newman in one of his greatest roles – if you haven’t seen this one then you should be ashamed of yourself

Best Bit:  Too many to choose from – Strother Martin ranting down the phone at Paul Newman(“you cant put a bounty on a man’s head!!”), the Hanson’s first game where they proceed to beat up and /or mercilessly scythe down half  the opposing team (plus the ref) and Newman’s classic parting insult to the Charlestown Chiefs uppity lady owner – which is far too rude to repeat  – even on this website!

* * * * * *

Rocky 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6

Directors: John G Avildsen (Rocky) Sylvester Stallone (Rocky’s 2, 3, 4 and 6)

Actors: Sylvester Stallone, Burgess Meredith, Talia Shire, Mr T, Burt Ward, Carl Weathers, Dolph Lundgren.

The first entry  bagged a handful of Oscars, and made Stallone a star, the rest got more even preposterous as they went on  – but did we care?  – like hell we did.

Full of one liners, fantastic  training montages, the greatest music score ever written and  amazing  boxing matches that, despite being completely daft, never fail to thrill with each repeated viewing.

Best bits: Again – too many to choose from  -however my personal favourite has to be Stallone’s hilarious  one liner to Burgess Meredith in Rocky 2:

Rocky: “Its Apollo”

Mickey: “Who’d ya expect??”

Rocky: “I was hopin’ he wouldn’t show!”

 

* * * * * *

Any Given Sunday (1999)

Director: Oliver Stone

Actors: Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid, Jamie Foxx

One of Stone’s best. Cleverly highlighting the rampant commercialism that turned American Football into less of a team sport and more of a business governed in the boardrooms, featuring career best performances from Pacino, Diaz and especially Foxx – this is one of those faultless movies that just begs to be seen again and again.

Best Bit: Pacino’s incredible  dressing room speech to his players before their do or die final game of the season. Without doubt one of the greatest, most uplifting and most astoundingly performed bits of acting you will witness on film. Safe to say  messrs’ Gerrard, Rooney, Lampard etc. could do a lot worse than watch this scene before they play the Italians on Saturday night!

* * * * * *

Warrior (2011)

Director: Gavin O’Connor

Actors: Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte, Frank Grillo

A must for all fans of Rocky and UFC cage fighting.  Hardy and Edgerton play estranged brothers (one is a dedicated a family man facing bankruptcy, the other an emotionally damaged gulf war veteran) who both enter a brutal multi million dollar cage fighting contest in Atlantic City.  Superb film with real depth, bone crunching  fights, brilliant acting and wonderful jump for joy moments  – it doesn’t get much better than this – and if your not in tears by the end then there’s no hope for you!

Best Bits: The training montage and all the cage fights.

* * * * * *

Days Of Thunder (1990)

Director: Tony Scott

Actors: Tom Cruise, Robert Duvall, Nicole Kidman.

Otherwise known as “Top Gun 2” due to its shameless similarity to the 1986 Tom Cruise starring fighter plane film. Days of Thunder is pure mindless Hollywood excess – massive budget, Simpson and Bruckheimer producing and zero plot. Nevertheless its extremely enjoyable, with genuinely exciting race sequences and great turns from both Cruise and Duvall.

Best Bit: The thrilling final race at Daytona.

* * * * * *

Wimbledon (2004)

Director: Richard Loncraine

Actors: Paul Bettany, Kirsten Dunst, Sam Neil, Jon Favreau

One for us Brits. Bettany is very good as aging tennis pro Peter Colt, given a million to one shot at the Wimbledon championships, Dunst is his love interest with Favreau  as his long suffering sports agent.

A  proper feel good movie , very funny, well written and featuring some great tennis sequences  – if this one doesn’t cheer you up nothing will!

Best bit: The nail biting Wimbledon final between Colt and his arrogant US opponent  – real edge of your seat stuff.

 

 * * * * * *

The Replacements (2000)

Director: Howard Deutch

Actors: Keanu Reeves, Gene Hackman, Rhys Ifans

When the players of pro football team The Washington Sentinels, go on strike over a salary dispute, the club owner (Jack Warden) hires former coach Gene Hackman to assemble a misfit team of replacement players to finish out the rest of the season. This consists of Reeves as a long past it quarterback, Ifans as a Welsh former pro Rugby player, a deaf mute and egg guzzling Japanese giant.

Not exactly Shakespeare, but extremely enjoyable, with a wonderful final 20 minutes that will warm even the hardest of hearts.

Best Bit: honestly? – all of it – its that great.

* * * * * *

Real Steel (2011)

Director: Shawn levy

Actors: Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lily.

Set in the very near future where remote controlled robots have replaced humans in the boxing ring, Hugh Jackman is the lovable rogue who rebuilds an obsolete ‘bot called Atom and turns it into a world title contender, all the while trying to reconnect with the son he hasn’t seen in years. Yes I know there isn’t no such thing as robot boxing –however Jackman is great value as ever, Atom is adorable, the SFX are superb and despite the fact that its basically Rocky with Robots, its so much good fun that it doesn’t matter.

Best Bit: The epic title fight showdown between Atom and world champion Zeus.

* * * * * *

Jerry Maguire (1996)

Director: Cameron Crowe

Actors: Tom Cruise, Renee Zellweger, Cuba Gooding jr.

A total classic. Zellweger is superb as the single mum who falls for Cruise’s morally dubious sports agent, as is Cuba Gooding jr. who thoroughly deserved his best supporting actor Oscar win as loud mouthed football pro Rod Tidwell. Superbly directed by Cameron Crowe, very sharply written with a standout performance from Tom Cruise, who successfully manages to ditch his usual clean cut all American hero image and create a wonderfully layered character who, in the end you just cant help rooting for.

Best Bit: “Show me the MONEY!”

* * * * * *

Escape To Victory  (1981)

Director: John Huston

Actors: Sylvester Stallone, Michael Caine, Pele, Max Von Sydow, Bobby Moore.

Generally shown by the BBC on rain soaked Sunday afternoons or after England win a match . Featuring  Sly Stallone as the worst goalkeeper to ever grace a football pitch, a somewhat out of breath Michael Caine, a wooden Pele, plus Bobby Moore and half the Ipswich FC team (yes that is John Wark – porn star moustache and all). Safe to say that this footballing version of the Great Escape is absolutely terrible and completely bloody wonderful all at the same time.

Best Bit: The climactic football match–especially the scene  just before half time where the Allied team have had enough of being mercilessly fouled by the Germans (ring any bells??) and score a superbly orchestrated goal.

Please God let this happen with England!!!!

 

So there we are  – the top ten best sports movies ever made  – all should still be available on dvd, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

 
Author: Will Strong